Floor-standing Speakers

Canton Reference 5.2 DC Floor-Standing Speakers

ARTICLE INDEX

Setup

I was happy to have Raney Nelson, of Canton's PR Agency, deliver and help me lug the Canton 5.2's down a flight of stairs to my listening room and help set them up. My modest space dictates pretty much where my speakers are placed, save moving them a few inches in either direction. We placed them about 7 feet apart, 2 feet from the rear and side walls, ever slow slightly toed in. We sat about 9 feet back.

Then it got interesting.

So here's the part where I describe how I basically broke every cardinal rule in the reviewer's handbook including the length of time I spent with the Canton Reference 5.2 DC- changing too many variables instead of just the one, speakers. Secondly, length of the review, what should have been a sweet 60 days turned into many months and I wonder if at any point I became too attached and lost perspective because in the end I simply grew to love them in every possible way.

But how I got to that point.

I've enjoyed my low-medium powered integrated tube amplifiers for a number of years and they've served me very well for most other components I've auditioned, not just speakers.

After Raney and I finished the setup and began playing a CD, within a few minutes we both realized that the tube amps weren't cutting it with the power starved speakers. On paper my 55 tube-watts should have been adequate to drive the modestly sensitive (88.5 dB) Canton's, yet what we heard was to the contrary. The mid-range was shallow and lacked dimension.

The sound was not quite as articulate or forceful. We concluded that the 5.2 DC's needed something more substantial (perhaps even in solid-state) than my modest tube amplifier provided.

Hmmm, a dilemma.

I turned to a friend in Richard Schram at Parasound who without hesitation came to my rescue. His highly regarded JC 1 mono blocks were my first choice, by far. But knowing I was probably going to make the investment, I backed off and Richard suggested the equally superb A 21 which would give me at least 400 watts into 4 ohm loads. I also asked for the Parasound P3 preamplifier, which Sandy Bird glowingly reviewed.

Variable two (variable one of course being the Cantons themselves)

I had been happily using the OPPO DV 983H for a reference CD/SACD player until I reviewed the Marantz SA-15S2 which I finished just before the Canton's arrived. I was overwhelmed with the new source in the Marantz and it never left my rack.

Variable three (I was on a roll)

While attending an event in NYC at audio retailer Stereo Exchange, I was put through an A/B comparison swapping out cables from Transparent of Maine. The improvements were immediate and obvious and not just slight, I could distinguish the difference 100% of the time. After a discussion with Transparent's David Schultz about the issues I was having with the Canton he was kind enough to loan me a set of MusicWave Super speaker cables and interconnects as I promised to return them to Stereo Exchange when I was done with them.

Up until then I was very pleased with Wireworld cables throughout my system but I was smitten with the Transparent cables that I swapped them out.

Variable four

Concentrating however on the Canton Reference 5.2 DC

And this point I was so far past comparing the Cantons that I simply chose to experience and react to the Reference 5.2 DC. Through all the changes however I'm thrilled to report, the Canton's came to life and I remembered why I loved the Canton Vento so much, the one other speaker I hated to see leave my listening room.

Having said that, the only comparison I will make is with the slightly higher priced KEF Reference 205/2, at about $12,000 for the pair, which I had and reviewed about a year earlier. The KEF's nearly became "my" speakers, I truly loved them. The sound was enormous yet so articulate, wonderful attack and delay. Truly the sweetest sound I've ever experienced in my home. Alas I couldn't pull the financial trigger. My one wish was to have the KEF's back for a real comparison because I believe the Cantons would have held their own.